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BY 1934, it was not hard to make the case for Social Security. The Great Depression had devastated employment, pensions, the stock market and savings. Many older Americans, and their beleaguered children with families of their own, found themselves suddenly and shockingly in economic freefall.
''A great calamity has come upon us, and seemingly no cause of our own,'' declared a 69-year-old architect, one of millions of Americans who wrote to President and Mrs. Roosevelt, pleading for help. ''It has swept away what little savings we had accumulated and we are left in a condition that is impossible for us to correct.''
As Congress begins a debate over the future of Social Security -- whether to allow Americans to put some of their Social Security taxes in private investment accounts -- the relevance of this history will be a matter of fierce dispute.
Isn't it time, many Republicans argue, to reinvent a Depression-era program for a more financially savvy generation that trusts, rather than fears, the market? Or, as Democrats assert, are Republicans ignoring a cautionary history that highlights the value of a guaranteed government benefit?
David M. Kennedy, the Stanford historian and author of ''Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War,'' said that he found it paradoxical that the current debate over Social Security ''is being couched in terms of individual ownership and privatization of the system, when those kinds of ideas deeply informed the way the original Social Security system was put together.''
In fact, while the movement for social insurance and old-age pensions had been building for years, it took a depression to overcome resistance to it. ''It's not an accident that only in the context of that protracted trauma did we get such a departure from our notion of laissez-faire, rugged individualism,'' Mr. Kennedy said.
The trauma for the elderly of that era can hardly be overstated. As W. Andrew Achenbaum, a historian at the University of Houston, put it, ''The Depression destroyed every mechanism that had existed for covering the vicissitudes of old-age dependency.''
originally posted by: BELIEVERpriest
I honestly don't expect to live to retirement age and don't care to. Its really not that big of a concern to me whether or not I will have something to retire with.
originally posted by: onequestion
a reply to: pikestaff
Tell me how much it costs to hire a full time employee and why
What about also having a MAX salary in addition to getting rid of social safety nets? Force money into the company coffers & enable more hiring & expansion vs massive accumulation of private wealth.
You may as well have. You are saying the government should tell someone how much profit they can make from their own business.
Never said anything about the government taking it.
Right. But it's a good incentive to build a successful business. A business which, guess what, employs people.
No human alive needs over $1million a year to exist.
originally posted by: onequestion
a reply to: stabstab
They will die or take care of themselves and putting money into the hands of the people is what's going to make that paradigm possible.